Rick Poppitz
Special to The Gardner News
Gardner’s Citizens Police Advisory Committee met on Jan. 31 in council chambers at city hall in a rescheduled meeting. The committee normally meets on the third Thursday of the month, but this is the first meeting since September, 2016.
All members of the committee were present. Lee Krout, lieutenant, attended in place of Jim Pruetting, police chief. After approving the minutes from the Sept. 16 meeting, the committee discussed volunteer efforts and community outreach.
Kacy Dale, member, said she had attended the police department’s Christmas party in December. She noted that the officers did all the work to prepare and clean up after the party, and she thought the committee should consider taking over those chores next Christmas.
Krout told the committee that the officers don’t mind doing it, but would be appreciative if the committee wanted to help. He also mentioned that the party expenses are paid by a group of officers out of pocket, not by city funds.
Dale thought the committee could help raise funds, so officers did not have to incur expense.
Dale also mentioned that police week was in May and that might be a good time to do a picnic, ice cream social or some other type of event for officers and their families.
Committee members discussed various ways to keep the public informed and familiar with the police department.
While discussing the potential of social media, Lee talked about a recent post that went viral and got nearly a million views. In that post, the department shared photos from wildlife cameras placed in public parks that unexpectedly captured images of unknown people dressed in ape costumes and such.
Lee said he had been contacted by reporters from all over the country and even some from overseas about the story.
Committee also discussed ways to educate kids and parents on ‘cyber issues.’ In addition, they discussed how the committee could become more involved with the annual Youth Bike Rodeo held in March .
Rich Melton, council member, and Krout informed committee members regarding a recent incident involving the chase and arrest of a man in a stolen car that occurred near an elementary school. Gardner’s police dog, Zeus was put to work in this operation, which also brought in county law enforcement and utilized the county’s aerial drone.
Melton and Krout were both pleased with how smoothly everything went that day.
“That particular incident, everything just fell into place from beginning to end,” said Krout. Krout said that after seeing the county’s drone at work, the Gardner police department. now wants one.